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Old 03-27-2017, 03:17 AM   #1
LaPanthere
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Default Made in Switzerland - Blade Guitars

In 1991 I bought the only Strat I ever owned, a beautiful Blade R-4 Honey, made by former luthier Gary Levinson in my Hometown. I loved the noise-free single coils, the finish of the guitar and the sepia mirror pickguard. Anyway the Strat had a hard life beside the PRS and Gibsons those days, so I didn't play her often and sold her to a band member a couple of years later.

Unfortunately blade doesn't do the Classic Series R-4 anymore, they have been replaced years ago by the RH-4 with a H/S/S pickup configuration. Anyway those are great playing and sounding guitars.



Some infos from wiki:

Levinson had been repairing guitars since 1964 and, in 1977, during his graduate studies at the University of Basel, Switzerland, he founded Guitars by Levinson. Using the experience he gathered from his work, he decided to start Blade Guitars in 1985. By 1986, he was refining the idea of a line of guitars based on the concept he defines as "Classic Design, Creative Technology"; at this time, he was also determining the features that would characterize his range of guitars. In January 1987, a manufacturing deal was reached for the production of the guitars. Blade Guitars made their debut in October 1987, at the music show of Tokyo. Their presentation at the Frankfurt Musikmesse in 1988 signalled their European launch.
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Old 03-27-2017, 03:51 AM   #2
Tony Done
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I'm a fan of Blade guitars, especially their VSC active tone control and thin nitro finishes, but I'm not sure how many are made in Switzerland. The ones I've seen were MIC, including my Delta.
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Old 03-27-2017, 04:19 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Done View Post
I'm a fan of Blade guitars, especially their VSC active tone control and thin nitro finishes, but I'm not sure how many are made in Switzerland. The ones I've seen were MIC, including my Delta.
I will try to figure this out as good as I can

Gary Levinson opened his ''Guitars by Levinson'' in 1977. For 10 years it was a classic Custom Shop, building custom one-off guitars and modifying our babies. From 1982 on the first prototypes of the ''Blade'' Strats were built. There was a good interest in those upgraded Strats.

Gary's Words about this time:
''I began doing on-site consulting in Japan and Korea for other manufacturers in the early 80’s. During this time I learned in great detail about manufacturing techniques and also developed new ideas for electronics and hardware but was told by manufacturers that my ideas were “too revolutionary.” So I decided to do it myself.''

In 1987 Gary made a manufacturing alliance with Moridaira (Japan) who also manufactured guitars of H.S. Anderson, Morris or Hohner. The guitars for the local market in Europe were - in the beginning - all manufactured in Switzerland in Garys Custom Shop, while the large scale ''export'' ones for Asia and overseas were manufactured in Japan. For the understanding - Switzerland is an extremely tiny country, almost no natural resources (all needs to be imported), very high salaries and NO acces to the sea (mass imports need to come via Germany, France, Italy or Netherlands). So the cost for a serial production on large scale in Switzerland would have been extreme. By 1990 Blade had become the best selling custom high-end guitar in Europe and received endorsements from many of the world's finest players.

In the mid 90's the production was moved to Moridaira and only the Custom Shop remained in Switzerland. Both, the swiss and the japan guitars were excellent instruments. Even that Gary has since retired from Blade the custom shop is now owned by a company called Job Factory which has a music store as part of it's offering and restoring old Blade/Levinson guitars. I can't tell who is the current owner of the brand - maybe it is still Levinson.

Somewhere in time the production was moved to Korea with some models still built in Japan. To identify ''real'' swiss Blade check the headstock or the little tag at the base of the neck. It's either labelled "designed in Switzerland" or "Blade Designs of Switzerland" or finally "Gary Levision. Made in Switzerland, recent ones have ''advanced concepts by Gar Levinson, (Switzerland) under the Blade logo on the headstock.



But yes I agree it's rather complicated and there are no production figures around on the web. I am linked with Gary so I will try to get some light into this confusion
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Last edited by LaPanthere; 03-27-2017 at 04:30 PM.
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Old 10-22-2017, 08:45 AM   #4
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I have a blade guitar advanced concepts, with a figured/quilted maple top. ebony fretboard around 20 years old. I have a question, should I restore it, meaning put a new finish on it, refurbish, change rusty hardware?

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Old 10-23-2017, 12:50 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Thepoopmaster View Post
I have a blade guitar advanced concepts, with a figured/quilted maple top. ebony fretboard around 20 years old. I have a question, should I restore it, meaning put a new finish on it, refurbish, change rusty hardware?

If that is a picture of it as it looks today, then, NO! Do not refinish it.
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Old 11-01-2017, 07:45 PM   #6
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yes this is how it looks but its got some rust and dings in the finish



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